Day of Caring Connects Campus and Community

Binghamton University employees volunteer at Catholic Charities' Food Pantry

As in years past, students, faculty and staff from across campus volunteered their time at the United Way Day of Caring. To name only a few good deeds, Binghamton University volunteers painted walls, groomed public trails, planted flower beds, distributed food to local residents in need, and read to children. The Day of Caring began as a way to commemorate the victims of the attacks on September 11th, 2001, and as a celebration of the national spirit of giving that followed the tragedy. Day of Caring gives volunteers a chance to give back, to strengthen the community and to have fun.

Aneesa Thomas, a staff member in the Systems Science and Industrial Engineering department, volunteered at the Humane Society, where she helped the staff organize things at their new location (the Humane Society’s old building was badly damaged by flooding in September 2011). Thomas said that it felt great to see how much she and the other volunteers had accomplished in such a short period of time. 

President Stenger engages with a Binghamton U. volunteer
Rachel Coker and her team from the Office of Research Advancement helped the Boys & Girls Clubs’ Camp Sertoma ready their camp for the cooler months. Research Advancement staff member, Martha Terry, felt good about being able to give back to the camp where her children enjoyed summers of fun and enrichment, and Coker noted that “service is excellent for team-building.” Even President Harvey Stenger  joined in the fun, visiting with Catholic Charities’ Boys of Courage group home for adolescent boys.  President Stenger was in good spirits, greeting and thanking every Binghamton University volunteer for their hard work and dedication to the community and discussing community challenges with the staff at Boys of Courage.

In addition to staff and administration, faculty and students also contributed many valuable hours of service. For students in particular, Day of Caring is an opportunity to get to know the community in a new way.  Professor Al Vos and the students in his Practicum in Leadership and Community Service course (pictured below), volunteered at the Discovery Center’s Story Book Garden. Deedi Boland, a junior who serves as a mentor for the course and as a Hinman Resident Assistant, says that many students expect the Binghamton community to bring things to them, but she encourages students to go and “find out what Binghamton has for you!”  

Dr. Al Vos and students assist at the Discovery Center
Sophomore and Geography major, Weijie Zhao, was so moved by the work being done at the Southern Tier AIDS Program (her volunteer site for the day), that she plans to volunteer there on a regular basis. “I wanted to get to know people,” said Zhao, “in my Anthropology classes we have been learning about Social Justice, so it made me want to give more to other people.”  In the process, Zhao found a cause and an organization she feels passionately enough about to continue working with long-term.  “These are the kinds of relationships that volunteer events are meant to foster,” said Christie Zwahlen, staff member in the Center for Civic Engagement. “One-time volunteerism is fun and a great thing for everyone, but deep and lasting community engagement is the ultimate goal.”

To get in on the fun, visit the CCE’s web site (cce.binghamton.edu), where you can sign up for Campus & Community Connections—a weekly e-newsletter of service opportunities—and search through the Service Listings Database for internships and on-going volunteer projects.

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